If you don't already have all of the circuits mapped out in your home,
this would be a great time to get on this project. Grab a radio and a
helper to label each outlet and lighting device and appliance with it's
corresponding circuitbreaker number.
Once you know for sure which circuit breaker(s) protects the
receptacles in question, only then are you ready to start
If your panel has circuit breakers (you refer to "switches"), turn the
breaker firmly to the "off" position, then back to the "on" position.
If you hear a click, and/or the breaker visibly trips, you have a
dead-short in the circuit. You would need to go and hunt down the
short-circuit condition -- WITH THE POWER OFF TO THAT CIRCUIT. As was
suggested, it could well be a faulty receptacle. Take out the old one
and replace it with a new one. Make sure you connect the wires exactly
like the old one. Do not use backstabbed connections. Strip the end
of the wire 5/8 inch, and tighten the wire under the screws with the
wire running in a clockwise direction around and under the screw.
If turning the breaker off/ on does not immediately re-trip the
breaker, but the receptacles still are not working, then you need to do
further testing (or call an electrician). Buy a $10 circuit analyzer
from the local hardware store. It looks like this
11766418&ccitemTurn the breaker back on to test. If the lights on the tester light
up, you have an open neutral. Turn off the circuit breaker, and call
an electrician. If the tester does not light up, you have an
interruption in the non-grounded (hot) wire or a faulty breaker.
Mr Fixit eh